For the record: I am not a fan of Steven Spielberg‘s movies. I do not like them on DVD; I do not like them in theater three. I do not like them on VHS; I do not like them — I said that, yes! And let me be clear: sometimes when I say I don’t like something, it means I’m neutral; I neither like nor dislike. But in this case, I do mean I actively dislike his movies.
I will readily agree that this, almost universally beloved, director-writer-producer is brilliant at his craft. He’s clearly one of the most successful directors in modern movie history. But I stand with a (very!) small number of critics who find his movies morally shallow and blatantly emotional. Even worse, they are peppered with what I call “Spielbergisms.”
It all started with the damned mashed potatoes.
I mentioned Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey recently. It’s actually one of my favorite films, although by “favorite” I mean it makes my Top 25 Best Films list (or it would if I ever made one). I consider it a major landmark in the cinema landscape.
I’m not sure it makes my Top 25 Favorite Films list, but that’s only because there are so many others I love for reasons beyond their mere quality. It would probably make the Top 50 list, and I’m sure it’s in my Top 100. Some find it opaque or pointless, but to me it’s a visual tone poem that’s as beautiful as it is technically accomplished.
When I say that last part, people sometimes ask me what a visual tone poem is.
This is too good not to share:
I was a big fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey when it came out in 1968 (I was in high school at the time). I was already a science fiction fan by then, so it was a dream movie for a guy like me. Later, in college, I majored in film and television, so came to appreciate the artistry of the film on a whole new level: as a visual tone poem by Stanley Kubrick.
It remains one of my favorite films, perhaps more for the memories and early exposure than for it being a great film that stands the test of time (although I rather think it is and does). I still see it as a very beautiful film; the visual poetry remains. The soundtrack also is quite extraordinary, I think.
But I’m still waiting for those commercial TWA flights to the moonbase!
Anyway, enjoy the video. It’s a trailer for 2001 as if it were cut today (making the film a Thriller … in space).
Funniest thing I’ve seen all week, and I’m indebted to the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, for posting it! If you like space or astronomy (or science or cool things), this is a blog site you want to visit daily. One of the best out there, as far as I’m concerned.